Penguins in Japan

After the book trailer workshop I did in late 2009, I had the best intentions of putting together trailers for my 2010 titles. However, life and busy-ness overtook me and that didn’t eventuate. I was very excited to see recently that my penguins nonetheless have an international video presence. Skip ahead to 14:50 in the video below (original version here) and you’ll see what I mean.

[Update Feb 2015: It appears that the video has now been taken offline. The internet is now sadly without “Penguin TV”. But you can still read the transcript/translation I made below]

This guy Kazuoki Ueda seems to be some sort of penguin researcher who is fond of picking up representations of penguins in literature and popular culture. On a visit to Melbourne last year, he came across The Truth About Penguins in a bookstore and decided to pick up a copy for his discussion group back in Japan.

Here’s a loose translation of the video dialogue:

Ueda: This is a picture book about penguins that came out this year in Melbourne, Australia – The Truth About Penguins.

There’s a rumour that penguins are coming to the zoo and various animals spin tales as to what kind of creatures penguins are.

And there’s a banner like this put up “Welcome Penguins” and lots of different animals spread rumours and say things like apparently penguins fly through the sky and penguins travel all over the place with their luggage and penguins hang out at the beach. They say all kinds of things.

Then the zookeeper comes along and says no no, you’ve misunderstood. I’ll tell you the truth about penguins. He tells them all about penguins and it’s like, oh, okay, so that’s how it is … but then when the penguins do come, what are they really like … ?
[shows last page]
It’s so fun!

Hiraka: Wow, that was like kamishibai just now.

Ueda: Yes, this is really popular in Australia, in Melbourne. There were rows of them out front in the bookstores [or possibly ‘a bookstore’. Japanese is happily ambiguous on this point, thereby enabling my dreams of bookstore domination].

Then he gives it to her as a present and moves on to talk about phone cards featuring penguins.


I had the biggest smile on my face when I saw this.

And now I want to go to Melbourne, land of milk and honey where my books may possibly be taking the city by storm.

Or maybe I should just get on and make that book trailer?

At the very least, I will write to Mr Ueda and say thank you for taking my penguins back to Japan.

3 thoughts on “Penguins in Japan

  1. Meg McKinlay

    Your mouth to Japanese ears, Katie. It would be very cool to have a translation.

    Cat, I'm with you in the love. And clearly we're not alone…

    I also love that these guys have invented their own Japanese word for 'penguin-related things' – 'pemono' ('mono' means thing and 'pe' is from 'pengin', which is how the Japanese render the English 'penguin']. So cute!



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